“When one door closes, another door opens, but the hallways are a bitch.” – How to Survive the Loss of a Love
“If you are still looking for that one person that will change your life, look in the mirror.” – Roman Price
There’s a cliché that people speak about that always kind of pissed me off. “The only thing constant is change.” Well, sure. Obviously, I’m not living in a bubble that is void of time and space. I keep getting older as each day approaches the next birthday…but how does hearing that simple sentence make a person feel better when life appears to be in turmoil or in the midst of a huge life transition? Or even a minuscule life transition? Fluctuations of the daily routine is transition in itself. In the analogy of a construction detour, or a massive slowdown of traffic, the GPS may not be able to suddenly announce “a faster route is now available.” What then?
If you’re like me, that saying of “change is constant,” is like hearing someone say, “Well, if this is happening to you, it’s because God thinks you’re strong enough to handle it.” That sort of advice rarely seems to bring empowerment to the person experiencing the effects of change. If anything, I often interpret it as a way for the listener to “stay positive,” and shrug off the heaviness of another’s situation. Life is seldom easy. Even if we were to have all the money and material power in the world, it would not negate the fact that we have to deal with this human mind.
At its worst, this mind craves pleasure and quick fixes, while the ego of the mind wants to control just about anything we can think of. It can bring us to dwell in the past, project into the future, and rarely allow us to arrive in the present. “Living in the moment,” whether we’re in a yoga class, driving to work, or taking a shower, can be one of the most difficult and spiritually demanding tasks. It takes a complete re-configuring of the mind in order to allow it to work for us, rather than against us. It is a daily, moment to moment practice.
In writing this today, I am not seeking to preach about how to “get over” change. That’s impossible. Instead, my aim is to present a reminder that living in transition is our human nature. We were born to be creative, wise, powerful manifestations of the Divine (or the Great Spirit, Source, the Universe, whatever you’d like to call it). Knowing that we are made of cosmic energy from the stars – literally, knowing that the same atomic elements that exist in the stars are present in our bodies – may help us understand that we are meant to be ever evolving and ever transforming to shine even brighter and better than we thought possible.
Being connected by the stars, I feel strongly that the movements in the cosmos have a profound influence upon us. If the subtle change in temperature or seasons can create shifts in the body, it makes sense that the subtle shifts in the alignment of the moon, the stars, and the astrological aspects can affect the planet and its people (we are, after all, living on a floating orb in space).
With the full moon in Pisces last night, I attended a full moon flow at the yoga studio in my hometown. It was a day of crazy, scattered energy in many ways, and one of the first times I actually did not feel up for going to yoga. I had not been sleeping well and felt generally exhausted and emotional. For me, most full moons have either brought a need to go wild and adventure outside, and/or a need to go into deep solitude and quiet reflection. I reached out to friends to come along for class, but they felt energetically similar and decided to pass on the offer. Because I committed to going in advance, I knew I would not be staying back. I also wanted to be there for my mom. She and I took our first class together this past Sunday, and it was a beautiful gift to practice with her and begin witnessing her newfound awakening with and appreciation for yoga. She received her cancer diagnosis at the end of this past May, and we’ve celebrated and mourned the range of good news, bad news, and the combination of both since then. More on that in another post.
In the past few days, my mom has become my greatest teacher in reminding me what this practice gives. She spoke of feeling so deeply relaxed and peaceful; something she “could have used all summer.” She has since come to three classes with me in this week, including a yin class I teach on Tuesdays. In her words, she mentioned the difference between laying down and assuming she is relaxing, versus laying down and feeling a deep peace and relaxation. When we practice conscious relaxation to reverse the damaging effects of stress in our minds and lives, we open ourselves to vibrate at a higher frequency. It is a gift to watch the healing medicine of yoga and meditation begin to work its magic on someone for the first time, especially a loved one who is dear to my heart.
A blessing for the full moon was given at the beginning and end of class: “I move through the cycles, phases, and transitions of my life with grace and peace.”
It was accompanied with a mudra (hand position) related to integrating and balancing the hemispheres of the body; the divine masculine and the divine feminine energy channels that resides in us. The teacher spoke of the moon going in phases and cycles. We twisted and bowed to the dark side of the moon. We honored and paid respect to the dark side we have within us too. We breathed in sacred mountain stance (tadasana), as if we stood by our favorite ocean or lake, syncing our breath with the tides, bathing in the glow of the full moon upon us.
Shortly before this meditative moment, I completely fell on my butt during half-moon posture and laughed. Before that moment, a voice came into my head and asked, “Can you let go? Of all of it? Your relationships, your ideas, your plans?”
The answer was, and always will be, yes.
Everything is in perfect timing.
Appropriately, we came into savasana (corpse pose) at the end of this class, as with the majority of yoga classes. Each time I come into this pose, laying on my spine, letting go of all work in the body, I always feel like I am connecting with death. In this moment of total surrender, I feel a release of all the things I think I am, all that has made up this life thus far and the journey I have traveled. It feels as if nothing has existed but a dream. It brings a return to the truth that I am simply energy, vibrating in space. I am not my name, my age, my job, my body, or my interests. I am the whole manifestation of the universe, created in my being (as are you). In this moment of death, relinquishing all control, I find God. I find Spirit. On this mat, in a room without furniture, in a place of candles, stillness, bodies, and breath, I am in a new moment. This moment, like all moments, is home.
In this next month, I invite you to breathe in your fullness. To hold space for yourself, in your light and in your darkness. To stand on top of your personal mountain, looking out at the trails you have trekked. To honor the blisters and bruises that have touched your body. To honor the marks that have touched your heart. To bow into all of this evidence that you are alive. You are here. You are needed. Exactly as you are. Exactly where you are. I invite you to let yourself go with the tides and let them carry you. Leave your expectations, resentments, attachments, and ideas of right doing and wrong doing on the shore.
A Rumi poem that emanates this feeling:
“Out beyond ideas of wrongdoing and rightdoing,
there is a field. I’ll meet you there.
When the soul lies down in that grass,
the world is too full to talk about.
Ideas, language, even the phrase each other
doesn’t make any sense.”
With love and gratitude,
(P.s. here are some full moon insights for the Pisces rising moon,
as well as a link to an astrologer, Kaypacha Lescher, who makes awesome weekly videos about what’s flowing on. 🙂